Tag Archives: size discrimination

Fun with Dick and Jane (and Why Tim doesn’t Exercise)

See Tim develop an eating disorder...

See Tim develop an eating disorder…

Oh my God.  Where do I even start with this monstrosity?  I was going along, minding my own business, eating my breakfast and checking out this wonderful post on Adios Barbie when I ran into this picture linked to by Allison Epstein.  And I nearly choked on my Cheerios.(R) Seriously? SERIOUSLY?  Look! It’s Fat Shaming with Dick and Jane:

See Dick and Jane and Pat.  She Dick and Jane and Pat fat shaming Tim.  See Tim.  See Tim embody negative fat stereotypes.  See Dick and Jane and Pat revel in their thin privilege.  See Tim go on a diet.  See Tim get slimmer.  See Tim get fatter.  See Tim get even fatter.  See Mom and Dad panic.  Panic parents panic!  See Tim get a gastric sleeve.  See Tim learn about dumping syndrome.  See Mom and Dad buy Tim dark colored pants.  Dump Tim dump!  Oh No!  Now Tim smells funny.  Isn’t he funny?  See Dick and Jane and Pat laugh.  See Tim want to die.  Die Tim, die…

The thing that really scares me, I mean full-out, ooga-booga, petrifies me, is that there are three organizations that have signed on to this ad.  That means at least three, purportedly professional people (and probably more) not only signed off on, but actually paid somebody to create this crap.  But that’s okay (they reason) because kids need to get out and play more, right?  And research shows, the way to get kids to go outside and play is to shame them, right? Right?

No, no, no, no, no, no, no and how about, no!

Despite the ongoing research that indicates that fat shame does not lead to permanent weight loss, and that fat stigma leads to even less healthy behaviors among kids like disordered eating, binge drinking, and more smoking, various white-coat-wearing idiots feel the need to create ads like this one.  Why?  Are they trying to create the medical equivalent of this exercise video “accidentally” catching a pooping man on camera?  (Is it an accident, or an all-new, low-bar in publicity stunts? Either way, it’s a hits bonanza!)  Do they not care that they are harming families and especially children with their stupid ads as long as they fuel parental panic and get lots of clicky poos for their hit counts?  Or have they really just not bothered to check any of the literature that shows that fat stigma harms people?  Hmmm, evil or simply, criminally irresponsible?  Hard to imagine that either are qualities I look for in a medical professional.

What is so sad, is that this ad is likely to make Tim less interested in exercise.  And this ambivalence towards exercise may last a lifetime.

But for those of you out there who are still twisting a hankie in your sweaty fingers or running around in circles yelling, “But what do we do?”  I have this advice.  If you want Tim to exercise:

1.  Create emotionally safe places for Tim to play–free from bullying or shaming.

2.  Create physically safe places for Tim to play–safe from assault and other crimes.

3.  Help Tim reconnect with and feel pride in the body he has right now.

4.  Provide safe, well-planned and excellently-executed physical education classes, and

5.  Surround Tim with role models for physical fitness that embody all shapes and sizes and abilities–like the amazing Ragen Chastain in this recent video interview from Huffington Post Live.

Seriously people.  If you want kids to exercise, give them physically and emotionally safe places to do it, give them proper instruction, provide them with great role models and teach them that exercise is something that we do because we love our bodies.

Then Dick and Jane and Pat and Tim and Sally and everybody can live happily ever after.  That is all.


The Fat Chick

P.S. Want help getting started with exercise?  My book and DVD are designed to help beginners to safely and joyfully integrate physical activities into their lives.  Enter the code DickAndJane in the discount code box to save $5 off the cover price!

Just What the #$%&! am I Supposed to Eat!?!


So have you seen the article in the New York Times that says it might be okay to eat salt again?  It seems some recent research is calling into question the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 1,500 milligrams a salt per day.  Now on the one hand, this question is almost moot, because it’s nearly impossible to achieve 1,500 milligrams of salt a day and do things like occasionally eat food that has had any processing, eat out once in a while, or you know, live in the modern world.   On the other hand, there are some indications that consuming sodium levels as low as 1,500 milligrams per day might actually be harmful.  So it probably does merit a second look.

So according to the article, several recent studies have indicated that a sodium level goal of 2,300 might be better than 1,500 milligrams per day.  Some of these studies have even indicated that the 1,500 level might actually be dangerous for some people–potentially increasing risk for heart attack and death.  The American Heart Association has fired back suggesting that the more recent research has flaws and that they don’t want to confuse people by giving them the message that a little more salt is okay, because you know, people might then go hog wild and eat lots of salt.

And then, near the end of the article is this little gem:

Although the advice to restrict sodium to 1,500 milligrams a day has been enshrined in dietary guidelines, it never came from research on health outcomes, Dr. Strom said. Instead, it is the lowest sodium consumption can go if a person eats enough food to get sufficient calories and nutrients to live on. As for the 2,300-milligram level, that was the highest sodium levels could go before blood pressure began inching up.

Okay.  So the advice that has been cemented in stone, that is inevitably printed on that bad, multi-generation photocopied piece of paper handed to every fat person in the universe by their doctor when they go in for a check up or to get that funny looking mole checked out is based on what now?  It’s no wonder that we are confused about what to eat.  The competing nutritional studies along with the sensationalist, usually premature reporting is enough to give any potential diner whiplash.  Eat margarine!  No, eat butter!  Eat olive oil.  Eat nuts.  Eat red meat.  Don’t eat red meat.  Eat fish.  But watch out, most of the fish is full of toxins.  Eat dairy.  Don’t eat dairy.  Eat low fat.  Eat low carb.  Eat only plant-based foods.  Plant-based foods are genetically modified and full of pesticides.  OMG.  Eat my shorts!  It’s no wonder that we are going crazy trying to figure out what on earth to have for lunch every day!  Add to that the woeful lack of education among GPs and pediatricians about nutrition and you get the typical photocopied sheet of “black coffee, one piece of wheat toast, and one glass of orange juice” advice.

Now all this is not to say that we shouldn’t be concerned about what we eat.  But it is to say that nutrition is a very complicated science.  And that while we let the scientists duke it out about exactly how many milligrams of this and percentages of that we should consume, maybe we should simply focus on what foods feel good in our bodies and what tastes delicious.  I believe our bodies have wisdom, and that we benefit when we learn to listen to what our bodies have to tell us.  It may be hard to hear our “smarty-pants inner-selves” amongst all the screaming about “vitamin this” and “mineral that”.  But I for one, plan to make the effort.  Oh, and would you please pass the salt?


The Fat Chick

Thursday Theater: Even Monkeys Understand Fairness

This video is wonderful for a few reasons. In the first place it is really funny. And in the second place, it reminds us that even monkeys understand about fairness.  When monkeys do equal work, monkeys expect equal pay.

Yet, in the world of humans, we have an ever growing disparity in worker pay. At my last full-time job, I was discouraged to learn that my immediate supervisor was earning nearly ten times my pay. And I was also earning less than half as much as the male producer in the office next door. Granted, my supervisor was higher on the totem pole than me, but ten TIMES higher? I don’t think so. And I have to admit, when I found out that others doing the same job as me were getting paid twice as much, well I started lobbing more than cucumbers out of my cage.

This is why I get so boiling mad when I see that fat people on average earn less than their thinner counterparts. Even when the fat person is performing the job as well or better than their thinner counterparts, the bigger person typically brings home a smaller paycheck. According to The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, in 2004 obese men earned $4,772 less than thin men, and obese women earned an astonishing $8,666 less than thin women. That’s a lot of grapes, my friends.

This is one of the reasons I think it is so important to be aware of and fight against size discrimination. We’re talking not only about somebody calling us names and making mooing sounds when we are trying to work out in the gym.  (Although those things are truly horrible as well.) but also about our ability to make a living. $8,000 can easily mean the difference between being above or below the poverty line. $8,000 can pay for better health care or a college class or special job training. $8,000 could pay for a used car to get us to a better job.

Let’s continue to fight for the rights of people of all sizes to receive a fair wage. Let’s share the message far and wide that equal pay for equal work is just common sense. It’s a pretty simple idea. Heck, even a monkey can grasp it.

The Fat Chick